Planning a high-altitude cabin getaway or camping trip with the family this season? These easy on-snow activities can help put the wonder in winter wonderland for grown ups and kids alike.
Tracking animals in the snow demonstrates to kids that while nature may seem to freeze during the winter, it’s actually full of movement and drama. You can use both the prints and the scat you find on trails or in copses to make predictions about what type of wildlife has recently been in the area.
The melting snow can change the size and depth of prints, so before mistaking a bunny for a bear, pay close attention to the positioning of the prints. Patterns can help you differentiate among species.
When examining scat for clues, use the shape to give you hints about the critters that have recently passed by. Fox scat is tubular, with a taper at both ends, while pellet-shaped poop might signify birds of prey.
Use a Frozen Banana as a Hammer
The usually soft, mushy banana can be transformed into a tool when left in the snow. The fruit is mostly water, so when frozen, it becomes rock hard, suitable for driving a nail into a board!
Be sure to wear gloves while handling metal items in freezing weather. And if you’ll be letting the kids take a swing or two with the banana hammer, supervise closely to avoid smashed fingers.
Create Your Own Flurry
When the temperature really drops low—think -30° Fahrenheit—tossing a small cupful of boiling water can create a mini snowfall. Cold, dense air can’t hold much water vapor, so the steamy hot water instantly becomes a confetti of snowflakes.
To avoid serious injury to yourself or your kids, you’ll need to avoid strong, unpredictable winds and keep the young ones at a good distance from the demonstration. While some dramatic videos show people tossing pots full of water to perform the trick, you can make it a lot safer by tossing only a cupful.
Build a Snow Fort
It’s fascinating that something so cold can be used to build a living space. While you probably don’t want to shelter in your snowy dwelling for any substantial length of time, you and your family can work together to construct a cool fort, perfect for regrouping between snowball fights. The best building snow is densely packed to form bricks. Experiment with different floorplans and brick-laying schemes to determine which is most effective.
Play Snow Golf
Think you can’t play nine holes in the snow? Think again! You can set up your own personal golf course by sinking coffee cans into the snow. Use a hockey stick to putt tennis balls into each hole.
Make Snow Ice Cream
After running around playing with snow all day, everyone will be ready to enjoy this quick culinary treat. With just a few easy ingredients—and no cooking—you can whip up some snow-based ice cream. Just make sure to use very fresh, clean snow!